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Hit the Road Jack

I have three choices regarding how I want to come to town. I can take an Oregon Highway; I can take a back country road or I can take an Interstate Freeway. Oh, the choices. I typically take the shortest route to work and that involves the freeway.


If you have done any driving at all, freeway driving that is, you know at one point you must enter an on-ramp. In our area, on-ramps are typically one lane, but in larger metropolitan areas, there can be more than one lane entering the freeway. The thing about on-ramps, it seems everyone has their own idea of how fast they should go.


I was taught, when merging onto the freeway, you should be driving at or near the speed of other cars by the time you get to the first freeway lane. I have noticed however that many people do not attempt to accelerate until they get to the freeway. We might be traveling 35 or 40 miles per hour all the way up the ramp. It really is quite dangerous. It can cause problems as cars try to merge with freeway traffic. (And, ssshhhh, it is a bit frustrating) I have found myself thinking, “did you not read your driver’s manual?”


Here is another scenario I have found myself in. You are traveling with a group of cars. One car speeds ahead, maybe even out of sight for a moment. But then you come up to a stop light, and there they sit, waiting. And I think to myself…isn’t that kind of like getting to Heaven?


We, and some of the people around us, are on the same road but traveling at different speeds and different places along that road. The truck driver has been on the road longer than I. I only travel the freeway for about 3 minutes. He travels for days at a time. You might use ramp #55, while I use #59. I may have started driving in 1979 and you, much earlier. But the point is we are traveling the same direction.


Humans are prone to quickly assess and then judge another. We become proud of our journey. We like to be acknowledged that we have been on this road for a very long time. We may have tripped over a crack in the road or stumbled over a small rock in our path, but we never left the road. We look at those who behind us and think they should be at least even with us in our journey. “If I can do it; they can do it!” “And should”, we think to ourselves.


Of course, how fast we arrive at our destination depends on the speed at which we are driving. Often the speed in which we are driving depends on those around us. It also often depends on the very vehicle we are driving.


Remember as a child, falling asleep in the back of the car on a long car ride or road trip? Wasn’t it grand? Time just slipped away as you slept peacefully. Oh, to be a child again. A child with all the innocence and wonder and awe that came with childhood.


Jesus once said, “…unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4 NKJV


I saw a poster online that read “The narrow road is the hardest road…but it’s the only way home.” It reminded me of an afternoon drive with Wendell about 15 years ago.


One of our favorite things to do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon was to go for a drive. We explored many logging roads, BLM roads, dead end roads, and roads that took us to surprising locations. On this particular trip we ended up in Glendale and decided to explore backs roads leading out of Glendale, toward Grants Pass.


We found the most beautiful mountain road. Very narrow at times, thick trees, just gorgeous. We drove for about 45 minutes, perhaps closer to an hour. Going was slow, but we were in nature, and we were loving it. And then…it happened. Just as we began to approach the community of Wolf Creek, we could see the end of the road and what met my eyes caused me to groan out loud. What were we going to do?


Up ahead we could see a very large berm of dirt that had been intentionally placed across this back road. There was no way we could drive in reverse for 45 minutes. The road was too dangerous for that. We were driving the family minivan and there was no way around this large mound and obviously no way over it.


I had been driving. Wendell got out of the van and assessed the situation. Coming back to the van he approached the driver’s side door and told me to get out. That man backed up the van; punched it; and went flying over that berm of dirt. I stood with my mouth agape. I could not believe it!


He got out of the van and from the far side of his conquest he shouted, “There was no going back.” It was the only way home.


The Bible tells us that the road to heaven is narrow, and most people will not be on that road. That’s crazy to think about.


Have you ever been to a funeral where the pastor or person officiating talked about the person NOT going to heaven; or how the person will burn in hell’s fire? No, you do not hear that at a funeral. Everybody is going to heaven at a funeral! But that is not what the Bible says.


“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV


Why are there two gates? Have you ever thought about that? Why two gates? Because Jesus wants you to choose. You get the choice of living with Him for eternity or suffering the consequences of sin and being eternally separated from Him. Pastor Kip says “choice” is our superpower and it really is.


Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…” John 10:9 NKJV


As one commentator noted, “Jesus himself is the narrow gate through which people pass as they respond to his invitation to the kingdom of heaven. The way of discipleship then stretches throughout one’s years on earth, ultimately leading to life eternal.” Choose Him. Choose the narrow gate. Choose the difficult path.


Jesus said, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;” Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV


Choose life!


by Jeanette Stark – Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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